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|Behind Green Lights||
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Subject: William Gargan Excellent in "Behind Green Lights"
William Gargan delivers, in his low key manner, an excellent performance in this police saga covering events over one evening. The supporting cast is generally quite good with Carol Landis in fine form. An interesting story with only minor flaws. It is well worth seeing for those who appreciate "B" or low budget movies.
Subject: Under Hot Dryers
As previously pointed out, this is really not a noir. I think it is still worth a watch as a fun little murder mystery because of good acting and some nice camerawork. Ms Landis is spellbinding. I could do without the reporter gang acting like the Ritz Brothers, but I suppose that was part of the atmosphere of a big city police station in pre-police scanner days.
Sometimes we look back wistfully at what COULD have been; with just a few changes here and there this could have been a noir extrordinare - make newspaper magnete/political aspirant Max the lover of the widow (dump the wimp lawyer character) and we have a very different story indeed. And the presumed murderer could have bolted from the pinch of a frame; without giving that blatant confession (but, for goodness sake, reveal his motive or connection to a motive earlier in the story rather than at the end and have him act just a little bit guilty earlier). Ms Landis's character (who, in good noir form, never revealed the reason for her being blackmailed) could have promised the ambitious Lt. a favorable word to her father for releasing her (and made bolder promises as the night grew long). In the end, a little more dirt on her would have pumped some real noir life into this one (Couldn't the ultimately indited person have been her relative or a close family friend and so giving us yet another possibly sorid, but unrevealed reason she might have been blackmailed?). And finally, our hero Lt. might have been (or seemed to have been) more hardened himself; showing his ambitions and desires a bit more; proposing to exchange her release for as much as an arranged marriage to promote his career and as little as sexual favors from her. But, this was 1946 and American movies had upbeat moral happy endings; not compromising nihilistic ones.
Alas, it looks like this one was made on the quick; as other reviewers have pointed out, the script as written lacks cohesiveness. The dialog was written well enough, but a murder mystery that pulls the culprit out of the air murders the mystery. I think the director as much to blame as the writer for this film's problems. Getting it out underbudget and into the post-war theaters as quick as possible appears to have been the goal; not making the script work.
But you gotta love those 1946 women's fashions and baked-in salon perms!
Subject: The old "Dead Guy In A Closet" trick
Tut..Tut, all you movie toots. This film is just another cute 1940's who-done-it fluff ball. Predictable but enjoyable. I liked Lombard, and the lead actor, but never heard of him or saw him in anything else.
Subject: Strange mixture
This is a mildly entertaining B.picture mix of drama and comic farce which,is reminiscent of The Front Page.
Carol Landis,although the nominal star of the film had too little to do.
Sadly, she was to commit suicide a couple of years later.
Subject: Low budget police procedural
This film appears on an extended list of folm noirs that I use as a reference point to seek out movies of this sort, but like many films included, its place as a film noir seems pretty tenuous.
Generally, given a hard boiled plot, a troubled protagonist, the usual lighting and camera work, rainy nights and shadows from the venetian blinds, the noir technique was used to elevate second rate material, actors, and directors constrained by tight budgets into something more worthwhile than the standard 'grind-'em-out' B movie mediocrity.
Unfortunately there is little of that effort shown in this fairly ordinary film. It is not very engaging, the acting is rather flat, and the plot pretty contrived. Carol Landis' hairdo really is something to puzzle over though, and the idea that she and William Gargan hook up at the end is pretty odd as well.
Subject: don't care for it
As far as noir goes it's not that good.
I just don't care for the writting really.
Everything else is actually pretty well done.
Subject: oofa snarf plumple
surprisingly good. the women's hairdos and hats are kind of, er, smooth.